Congratulations, you’re alive. After a chapter or two of this microbe’s-eye-view of human history, it is tempting to wonder how our ancestors ever made it. Painful ends have been with us from the beginning, and it is a mystery how mauled, malnourished cavemen struggled on to become contagion-ridden city dwellers. Wherever there is life, Arno Karlen relentlessly shows us, there are parasites to feed off it and pathogens to snuff it out. The surprise is less that bubonic plagues and flesh-eating bugs should still be with us, but that we could ever have presumed to show them the sickroom door.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
Enjoying Susan Owens’s essay on English attitudes to nature in @Lit_Review. Turns out the early moderns were positively repulsed by hills, as described in this poem by Isaak Walton’s fishing chum Charles Cotton.
In this month's Silenced Voices, @lucyjpop shines a light on the tragic case of Shady Habash, a filmmaker who died in an Egyptian prison in May.
One study found that hoarders 'had lesions on the mesial prefrontal cortex of their brains ... Collecting and hoarding, in other words, are the results of brain damage.'
James Delbourgo explores the psychology of minimalists & collectors.